Friday 14 Mar, 2014

Why Travel Matters

It’s no secret that travel changes you. It awakens your inner explorer and opens your eyes to a more holistic view of the world we live in. Whether you’re climbing the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, taking in a Broadway show in New York City or snorkeling in the Caribbean, you are taking those first steps towards expanding your horizons.

The power of travel is why we do what we do.  It’s what keeps us motivated trip after trip; but, it’s our dedicated Group Leaders who are the real perspective-changers.  They are the people who take their travelers on educational tours across North America year after year.   We had the chance to talk to a few about why they do it.  Here’s what they said:

“The thing that motivates me to continue traveling with my students is my students.  Every trip I have taken, I have seen how they react to seeing history come alive (we go to Washington D.C. every two years, traveling with juniors and seniors).  I love seeing them outside of school, and building those relationships with my students.  Mostly though, I love seeing how traveling can awaken new passions in the kids I see every day in my classroom or the school halls.  There are so many upsides to traveling with them, that I can’t foresee ever stopping- it’s all my favorite parts of teaching out in the real world.  Plus, it doesn’t hurt that EF makes me feel so safe and taken care of while doing it.” – Pia L.

Travelers taking in the ocean view.

Travelers taking in the ocean view.

“I continue to be motivated because of the incredible experiences that my students have on the Boston trip. These trips only enhance my relationships with my eighth graders.  There is a great deal of interaction with me and the students on the trip.  Most all of the interactions are positive and the students are very appreciative that I take time out of my busy schedule to organize the trip and also go along.  I have found that after we return from the trip our relationship shifts to a closer bond. If an eighth grade student makes a mistake and I have to deal with them, they know that I truly do care about them and it is easier to come to some resolution because we have built a relationship.” – Kate B.

Students taking a group picture in Puerto Rico

Explorers visiting Puerto Rico for the first time

“There are so many reasons to keep coming back and planning trips.  For me it is all about the kids and the looks on their faces.

A few years ago I made a cross country trip to the East Coast with a group of history teachers. Most of us had never been there or seen places like Washington D.C. and New York City in person.

I remember there were 52 of us on the bus and when we came over a rise in the road and glimpsed Washington D.C. for the first time at twilight, I will never forget the excitement on that bus from the people who had never been there.

I decided I wanted my students to feel that way and to see that look on their faces that I will always remember seeing on the other teachers faces at that moment.  It’s the same look you see when students start to talk about the trip after they have returned home or when they reminisce about it a few years later.

For me though it’s always about the kids and giving them an experience and a nudge to take a leap that they might never have taken on their own in their lives.  The thing that probably makes me the happiest is when a kid comes up and they tell me they are traveling elsewhere in the world because they had so much fun on the trip I led, and that they now want to see more.” – Brandon D.

Travelers looking at the lake next to Mount Vernon

Travelers taking in the view at Mount Vernon

“I love taking learning outside the classroom and into the real world.  The excitement and wonder that comes with travel is unparalleled in any other circumstance.

Travel broadens horizons for all of us, but in particular for kids who can often get drug down by the trials of adolescence, school and friends.  The realization that there is a great big world out there full of amazing places, experiences and people, helps to ground them in their own day to day life.

Second, kids want to have that feeling of belonging which travel easily provides. The bonding that occurs through the shared experience of travel with peers is strong and lasting. The closeness is strengthened by the feeling of independence which comes from travel without family.

Third, is the educational experience of the destinations, activities and food!  Students are pushed outside their “box” and smiles and laughs abound throughout every journey!

The final bonus of travel is that when the kids get home they come with a greater appreciation for the place in which they live and the people in their lives.” – Jackie M.

Travel changes lives and broadens perspectives. But, it’s thanks to our passionate Group Leaders who provide their travelers the chance to catch the travel bug and gain the confidence to keep exploring and see what the world has to offer.

If you are interested in learning more about our student trips across North America, call us at 800.503.2323.